Topics Map > Services > Research and Education Networks > Northern Tier Network North Dakota

Northern Tier Network North Dakota - History of Funding and Responsibilities

Below is a comprehensive history of funding and responsibilities of the Northern Tier Network North Dakota.

Pioneering the Internet in North Dakota

A history of North Dakota’s dedication to supporting its campuses in their efforts to ensure advanced and stable connectivity among institutions in the state, as well as connections across the country and around the world is evidenced by a consistent vision and actions toward these purposes across almost five decades. 

1970s thru 1999

Dedicated technology support for North Dakota’s 11 higher education campuses claims its beginnings in a 1969-70 interim legislative study. The North Dakota Higher Education Computer Network (HECN) was funded at three institutions and later extended to all institutions of higher education under the State Board of Higher Education (ND Information Technology Legislative Interim Report 1999). This served to establish a host site for administrative computing at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and a host site for academic computing at North Dakota State University in Fargo. Initial responsibilities for these host sites focused on providing mainframe computing and networking for all of the higher education campuses, the North Dakota University System Chancellor’s Office, as well as distributed organizations associated with UND and NDSU, including Medical Center Rehabilitation Hospital, NDSU Extension Service, and North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (GFA Strategic Plan, 1996, p. 10). 

In those early years HECN furnished connection to the statewide network, and in turn, the Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) using T-1 connections of 1.5Mbps. Communication from the statewide network to the campus router was furnished by HECN via the North Dakota Information Network (NDIN). HECN paid for the networking bill for the statewide backbone. This was shared 50-50 between UND and NDSU. The two institutions had joint responsibility for HECN network services (GFA Strategic Plan, 1996, p. 18). 

The fiscal year of 1985-1986 will be remembered as the year the HECN joined BITNET. Predecessor to the Internet, BITNET provided electronic transfer of files, mail, and messages. The link to BITNET became a reality when a leased line was installed between Fargo and St. Paul, MN, the nearest BITNET site. BITNET served as a national network of over 500 computers at more than 200 Universities throughout the nation. Through interconnections with other networks, described as ‘bridges’ at that time, it enabled North Dakota campuses to link to other networks in Canada, Europe, and the far east. (1985-1986 NDSU University Computer Center Annual Report, p. 7). 

By 1988, the link to Northwest Net (NWNET) was complete and North Dakota was added to the list of charter members of this new consortium. NWNET was a regional data communications network that was developed by a consortium of six states in the upper northwest United States, including Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. The purpose of NWNET was to provide advanced scientific computing resources to its membership and other research interests in the region, facilitating better communication between universities and developing a synergy for issues such as supercomputing access and support. NWNET served as North Dakota’s first connection to the young Internet and to the National Science Foundation’s network, NSFNet. It was the hope of these early network pioneers that NWNET would contribute to the advancement of science and economic development of the region. Representatives from North Dakota’s State Board of Higher Education, NDSU and UND served on several NWNET operational committees. Continued upgrades to campus computing infrastructure combined with the establishment of a communications link to NWNET substantially increased local and remote facilities available to HECN users, opening the door for HECN to strengthen its commitment to supercomputing. (1987-1988 NDSU University Computer Center Annual Report, pp. 6, 8; 1993-1995 NDSU Computer Center Strategic Plan, p. 8)

Map of North Dakota HECN Network

By 1991 NODAKnet was reporting significant growth in number of network connections, rating consistently as one of the top 100 (of 3,000) networks on the NSFNET in terms of number of packets sent to the Internet (1990-1991 NDSU University Computer Center Annual Report, p. 15). HECN Biennial Budgets consistently included funding requests for network upgrades and HECN dedicated staff at NDSU and UND, both of whom served as HECN host sites for North Dakota Network. The budgets also provide evidence of continued state support for membership and network participation activities with NWNET, as indicated in the budget numbers requested for the host sites. (North Dakota Higher Education Computer Network Biennial Budgets). 

Continuing through the 1990s, efforts continued to support the growing needs of individual universities and the university system as a whole. A Strategic Plan for the North Dakota Higher Education Computer Network was completed in 1996 and provided recommendations for a model that would focus on highly reliable services based on networked resources available to all students, faculty, staff and management for all the campuses (GFA Strategic Plan, 1996). The Strategic Plan also served as a framework for development of a technology plan required by HB 1034 passed in the 55th Regular Legislative Session in 1997. Also in 1996, NDSU and UND joined the new Internet2 national research and education network. Notification was received that NDSU would become part of the Great Plains Network, a six-state consortium that received NSF/EPSCoR funds to install a high-speed network for its educational and research community. This further supported the momentum for NDSU to install a high-performance computing facility.

The Vision Continues 

Year
NTN-ND StatusFunds and Funding SourcePrimary Use of Funds
2001The completion of the state’s new statewide network provided faster Internet connectivity and bandwidth. In addition, the Internet2 / Abilene traffic for NDSU and UND had a dedicated 45 Mbps DS3 link to the Northern Lights gigapop Abilene connector at the University of Minnesota. HECN staff at NDSU continually monitored network performance and traffic patterns both within North Dakota and with the Great Plains Network, commodity Internet and Internet2. (NDSU IT annual report 2000-2001.)
2003Northern Tier Network
Consortium is created.

Partnership formed among seven states to explore the potential of building a robust research network connection for institutions and federal research laboratories in the upper northwest.

Source: 
Northern Tier Network-North Dakota Annual Report (2009). Published by NTN-ND by the North Dakota State University Information Technology Division.
2005Planning 

$200,000 one-time 

Funding Source: National Science Foundation Planning grant obtained by North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Idaho.

Funded a consultant to develop a network engineering plan that provided the basis for the NTN footprint across the four states. 

Source: 

Northern Tier Network-North Dakota Annual Report (2009). Published by NTN-ND by the North Dakota State University Information Technology Division.

2006
Build
Work begins on construction of the greater NTNC, and the state owned segment of the NTN-ND path across North Dakota.
$3.25M one-time
Funding Source: Department of Defense Research and Engineering Network (DREN) seed money secured by Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.
Seed money for initial network build and start-up costs.

Source:
Northern Tier Network-North Dakota Annual Report (2009). Published by NTN-ND by the North Dakota State University Information Technology Division.
2007
Build

Work continues on construction of the greater NTNC, and the state-owned segment of the NTN-ND path across North Dakota.
$2,773,800 one-time appropriation

Funding Source: ND Permanent Oil Tax Trust Fund for the Common information services pool of the Higher Education budget.
Remainder of funds needed to cover initial build and start-up costs. Funding was used to complete and begin operations of the segments from Montana to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and from Fargo to Grand Forks.

Source:
Northern Tier Network-North Dakota Annual Report (2009). Published by NTN-ND by the North Dakota State University Information Technology Division. North Dakota Legislative Session Laws, Chapter 31, Section 7, p. 98.
2008NTN-ND partnership formed

Work continues on construction of the greater NTNC, and the state owned segment of the NTN-ND path across North Dakota.

The State Information Technology Department (ITD), NDSU and UND partner in an effort to formalize management of this joint project. NDSU serves as fiscal agent and primary contact, supervising operations and management.

Source:
NTN-ND Operating Agreement (2008). North Dakota State University Information Technology Division.
2009
NTN-ND goes live April 2009

NTNC completes construction across the full path from Seattle to Chicago.
Carryover funds ($1,000,000) from the 2007-2009 appropriation for the North Dakota University System base funding budget are used to cover operations and maintenance expenses for the first year of the 2009-2011 biennium. NTN-ND partners plan to pursue federal stimulus funding to complete planned north/south routes to South Dakota and Canada.
Expenses for annual operations and maintenance begin. Remaining carry over funds from 2007-2009 biennium intended for completing the build north/south are retained and used to cover annual operating expenses. No funds are allotted to depreciation of capital repair and replacement until the end of FY12.

Source:
Report of the North Dakota Legislative Council Sixty-First Legislative Assembly (2009).
2010NTN-ND in full operation
NTN-ND pursues federal Stimulus funding. Grants are awarde
Completes planned connection to South Dakota and the Northern Wave. Plans to complete a connection to Canada are placed on hold due to a delay in available funding for the Canada segment.
$751,244

Funding Source: National Science Foundation: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009
NDSU sponsors NSF funded grant award to link North Dakota and South Dakota's NTN segments (NTN-ND and NTN-SD). Grant project completes connection of South Dakota network to the Northern Tier Network in Fargo.

Source: 
NSF Grant 0963033 Northern Tier Network-North Dakota and South Dakota Access Improvement.
$1,157,498

Funding Source: National Science Foundation: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009
NDSU sponsors NSF funded grant award in partnership with the Pacific Northwest GigaPoP to create the Northern Wave.

The Northern Wave is a fiber-based network capable of supporting multiple gigabit connections and extending from Seattle through Minneapolis to Chicago. New add/drop points are located at Yakima, Spokane, Missoula, Bozeman, Billings, and Fargo. The partners and campuses affected include the Pacific Northwest GigaPoP (PNWGP), the University of Washington, Heritage University, Washington State University, University of Idaho, University of Montana, Montana State University, North Dakota State University, the University of Minnesota, and the Starlight facility. The renovation also includes an optical switch at a PNWGP location in Seattle to further enable advanced networking research.

Source: 
NSF Grant 0963559 Enabling Inclusive Western States NSF Research via Next Generation Networking – the Northern Tier.
2011NTN-ND in full operation$1,572,200

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature
As a result of NTN-ND expansion achieved through grant awards listed above, the University System revised its 2011-2013 budget request for Northern Tier Network operations from $1,691,399 to $1,572,200.

Source:
Report of the North Dakota Legislative Management Sixty-Second Legislative Assembly (2011, p. 226)

The 62nd Legislative Assembly for the State of North Dakota passes Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4003 in support of the Northern Tier Network Technology Initiative, its private enterprise partners and the related activities of the Legislative Management’s interim Information Technology Committee.

North Dakota Legislature Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 4003, Chapter 557.
2012NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated for connectivity for NDUS offices and NDUS institutions.
ND Legislature initiates appropriations in support of annual operations & maintenance for NTN-ND. The North Dakota University System includes a request for the Northern Tier Network as part of its technology maintenance funding for System information technology services.

Beginning with FY12 and continuing through FY17, the annual appropriation is used for operations and maintenance. From FY12 thru FY16 any funds remaining after annual expenses were paid were reserved for depreciation and capital refresh and replacement.

Source:
2013NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated for connectivity for NDUS offices and NDUS institutions.
Annual operations and maintenance, depreciation, and capital refresh and replacement.
2014NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated for connectivity for NDUS offices and NDUS institutions.
Annual operations and maintenance, depreciation and capital refresh and replace.
2015NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated for connectivity for NDUS offices and NDUS institutions.
Annual operations and maintenance, depreciation and capital refresh and replace.
2016NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated for connectivity for NDUS offices and NDUS institutions.
Annual operations and maintenance, depreciation and capital refresh and replace.
2017NTN-ND in full operation$935,000

Funding Source: North Dakota Legislature as a supplement to existing operations & maintenance funds previously designated
Annual operations and maintenance.

Funds designated for capital reserves at the end of FY17 were withheld in order to cover FY18 operations and maintenance. No capital reserves or depreciation funds transferred (see details below).
2018NTN-ND in full operationState appropriated funding is withdrawn.

NTN-ND partners undertake alternative options for maintaining current funding levels in order to maintain annual operations and maintenance.

As a result of action by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) following the 2017 North Dakota legislative assembly, legislated funding will no longer be provided to support NTN-ND operations and maintenance or upgrades beginning in FY18 and going forward. The reduction included long-standing support from the university system designated for connectivity for the NDUS offices and all institutions in the system. As a result, the NTN-ND partners agreed to withhold funds from FY17 and FY18 operations and maintenance designated for depreciation, capital refresh and replacement, enabling the partners to cover the cost of operations and maintenance for FY19. Going forward, responsibility for annual operations and maintenance, along with allocations for depreciation and capital repair and replacement will be assumed by NDSU and UND.
Per the NDUS, neither appropriated funds or NDUS reimbursements will be used to cover annual costs or operations and maintenance. Based on this decision, NTN-ND partners agreed to withhold funds from the FY17 budget designated for depreciation and capital refresh and replacement in order to cover annual operations in FY18. NTN-ND partners continue to move forward in exploring available options for self-funding operations and maintenance, in addition to leveraging partnerships with neighboring networks to complete necessary upgrades.

Sources: 
2019NTN-ND in full operationAnnual Operations & Maintenance (O&M) were available to cover FY19 funding due to cost savings realized as a result of the transfer of the AT&T fiber lease on the path west of Fargo to PNWGP/MOX, and the decision by NTN-ND partners to withhold transfer of funds into the capitol R&R account.Annual Operations & Maintenance expenses for FY19 are covered with remaining funds available. At the end of FY18, knowing funding had been cut, partners agreed not to transfer any funds to the Capital R&R fund and instead keep them in place to be used for O&M in FY19. Cost savings realized through the transfer of responsibility of the AT&T fiber lease west of Fargo made it possible to meet annual expenses.





Keywords:NTN, NTNND, NTN-ND, ND, research and education networks   Doc ID:106920
Owner:Marisa M.Group:IT Knowledge Base
Created:2020-10-30 12:18 CSTUpdated:2020-11-09 13:27 CST
Sites:IT Knowledge Base
Feedback:  0   0